I, as many of you, came into this 2009 season, after the tumult of a brutal offseason, with guarded optimism and a simple hope that the team would just be competitive every Sunday and lay the building blocks towards rectifying a busted franchise. To say starting 6-0 heading into the bye week was a surprise would be the understatement of all understatements. Through the first 37.5% of the 2009 season, this team has played for each other like I have never seen in my 32 years of rooting for the Broncos.
For whatever reason, last night I thought back to that eloquently written letter from Pat Bowlen to the Broncos fans following the aftermath of the Jay Cutler (this is the only time I will mention his name in this post) trade. Every single word written in that letter has resonated through the team's play. The culture which Bowlen demanded from his organization in the letter is clearly being represented from the walls and practice facility of Dove Valley to the playing field on Sundays. I recommend that you re-visit the letter below and put this team right up next to it. You'll see Mr. Bowlen's vision being put into action.
Have a read and you'll see exactly what I'm talking about.
Issued April 4, 2009:
Dear Broncos Fan,
I am writing this letter today because I feel compelled to give our community and our fans an explanation regarding the Jay Cutler situation.
One of my directives to Josh McDaniels upon his hiring was that he consider everything possible to return the Broncos to the level which you and I both expect, and this certainly includes making a fair evaluation of every opportunity presented to us which might improve the team. He and General Manager Brian Xanders have had my complete support throughout, and they have it now. It is important that you know that at all times we represented ourselves to Jay with honesty and integrity.
I assure you both Josh and I made repeated attempts to reach out to Jay, and I can not speak for him as to why he chose to limit his response. Ultimately, given his unwillingness to speak with either of us directly in the last 12 days- at the same time his agent clearly stating to us Jay's intentions- it became very apparent to me personally that he no longer wanted to play for the Denver Broncos. As such, we elected to trade him.
Understand this: it remains about team. Our franchise has gone to the Super Bowl six times, with three different coaches and with many different players. It has never been about one player, and it never will be. Coach McDaniels shares this vision, and everyone in the organization—players, coaches and staff—must understand and accept this unconditionally. If anyone does not, that person will not be a part of this franchise.
I am extremely proud of our franchise, its accomplishments, and the region and fans that we represent. We have an illustrious history, one which we are all anxious to add to, and if someone does not wish to be with us as we head in this direction, then we will move on, and move forward.
Over 96% of our season ticket holders have chosen to renew their tickets for the 2009 season. This is once again a compelling statement of support and trust by the greatest fans in the NFL, and I assure you my only goal is and always will be to compete at the highest championship level.
The Denver Broncos will move forward in 2009 as one team, united with the most loyal and passionate fan base in football, towards the only goal we will ever pursue.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and for your understanding and continued support.
Wonder how those 4% who didn't renew their season tickets are feeling right now...